It's one of our most endeared yearly events. Girls on the Run has been virtual like so many others over the last couple years, but May 14th the incredibly powerful event that helps shape the minds and ethics of so many young women will be once again back up and "running" on the grounds of Heritage Landing and we'll gather to support, cheer and be inspired by these great young people who's lives have been touched by this powerful program.
From the Girls on the Run website - "Girls on the Run, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, emotional and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. The life skills curriculum is delivered by caring and competent coaches who are trained to teach lessons as intended. Girls on the Run International is the parent organization to 175+ local councils, serving over 200,000 girls annually." Locally we've been a part of Girls on the Run featuring the event, the local team that pulls it off and we've even been fortunate enough to have had the Founder of Girls on the Run Molly Barker notice our association and spend a few minutes with us. We've been very proud to work with this organization.
This year, as things come back up to speed, a hand is needed. Not only do some volunteers need to be found to help along the course of the 5k run for the girls and families, but they are also asking that the alumni of the program return to participate in the event as a celebration of all that's been accomplished over the years and to help ignite the spark once again now that the "virtual" runs are a thing of the past...we hope. There will be an early start to the day at Heritage Landing with music, companionship and fun. Warm up's, stretching out and motivation. The run takes off and as the participants cross the finish line, the medals are handed out by cheering crowds and dignitaries who are there to support the accomplishment. The medal presentation is easily the best part of the day, although those passing out medal....myself included, all try to be closest to the finish line, who doesn't want to be the presenter in this situation?
Lisa Hegenbart is the Executive Director of Girls on the Run in West Michigan. Our district covers Muskegon, Kent and Ottawa counties. Lisa came on right as everything went virtual, so it was a true test of this seasoned leader in the non profit sector in Muskegon, but she handled it with grace and didn't even break a sweat. Now that it's "back to normal", Lisa and I met up at The Coffee Factory to talk about the event. Take a listen.
Bright and early! We'd love to see you May 16th if you are participating or just want to come down to cheer on the participants, you are going to be a part of something remarkable. The positive reinforcement that comes with this program and the strength and confidence that is built into girls is incredible. Those who have participated in the program....come on back and do it again! Those who have a few minutes to spare on May 14th, come on down and pitch in. It's a community effort for good and we couldn't be prouder to help spread the word. GIRLS ON THE RUN can be found linked below.